Not Paying It Forward

An old Jew is dying.
His family gathered around his deathbed to say their last goodbyes.
He whispers:
-Is my wife Sarah here?
-Is my son Shlomo here?
-Is my daughter Rivka here?
-Are all my grandchildren here too?
-So who is watching the store?!?!?
old Jewish joke

I am convinced that in the last minutes of my life I won’t be seeing white light, having an out-of-body experience, or fast-forwarding through my uneventful autobiography. Instead I will be having visions of unused rewards points, groupons, gift cards and other things I paid for but which, upon my demise, will be fattening up some business’s balance sheets. Knowing this fact about myself, I try not to pay for anything ahead of time, thus making my dying hour peaceful and worry-free. I wait as long as I can before I commit to any travel plans – croaking with a pair of nonrefundable tickets to Argentina would be excruciatingly painful and I will have to haunt the airline employees so they would have no choice but to issue a refund. I don’t try to pay off cars and mortgages ahead of schedule – knowing that some insurance company has to pay up would make dying a lot more pleasant. I don’t stock up on food – I don’t want my last words to be “don’t forget there are six pounds of lobster in the freezer” (not that I ever buy lobster, it just sounds a little more dramatic).

But most of all, I never buy any memberships that promise future savings, join any clubs, buy six Mexican dinners for half the price from a guy knocking on my door (restaurant went out of business 2 months later), and don’t prepay for a year’s worth of oil changes to get one free. As a matter of fact, the only thing I pay for ahead of time is my fully refundable Costco membership. When I go to the big Costco in the sky, my membership number will be somberly retired and prorated fee refunded to my kid.

All this explains why when AMC killed off their free rewards program and send me this flyer to joyfully inform me that I will now have to pay, visions of me cursing AMC with my last breath immediately popped into my head. With this program you have to spend $120 on tickets and concessions before breaking even. And an introductory half off offer was ruined when I discovered that some people received their first year completely free. FREE! Way to make me feel like a second-class customer, unworthy of additional six dollars. You didn’t think I was going to find out, did you? Well, AMC geniuses, I did, and although you weren’t getting my money anyway, I now feel ripped off. But what’s new, I always feel ripped off at the movies.

At least my dying thoughts will not be about how the AMC is going to spend my six dollars. Maybe I’ll be able to look for the bright light after all.

*this post does not apply to any AMC employee I might know in person.